Freezer bags filled with hats, gloves or scarves hang from trees along the walkway at Columbia Park in Kennewick.
“I’m not lost,” a yellow note inside says. “Please take me if you are cold.”
Students from Kamiakin High School’s National Honor Society gathered the clothing, a mix of donations and new items, and tied the bags on the branches Thursday night, just in time for Friday’s snowfall.
The group got the idea after Valerie Feth, the club’s adviser, saw a story about people tying scarves to trees on Facebook.
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People in sections of the U.S. and Canada attach warm clothing to trees for people to take during the winter, according to several news sources. Most of the time, they are accompanied by notes explaining the items are not lost and people can take them.
“I read the article and said that is something that we could do as a group, because we’re always looking for community service opportunities,” Feth said.
When she shared the idea to the club’s Facebook page, the students thought it was a great idea. The group initially discussed the idea in December, but the series of school day cancellations delayed the project.
On Tuesday, the students gathered in Feth’s classroom and brought hats, gloves and scarves for men, women and children. They laid the items out on a table and filled roughly 30 bags.
“Some of them have mittens, hats and scarves. A couple of them have a couple of scarves,” she said.
We know there are a lot of people in our area who are either without homes or just without funds to be able to purchase things ...
Valerie Feth, National Honor Society adviser
The students finished by tucking a small yellow note inside, and writing whether the clothing is for a man, woman or child.
“We chose different areas in the park for them to go to, and they just found places to tie the bags with red cord around the trees,” she said.
The packages are stashed in places where they thought people would gather, such as the Playground of Dreams, the drive connecting Edison Street to the playground and other spots where it seemed that children would gather.
“We know there are a lot of people in our area who are either without homes or just without funds to be able to purchase things, or we have a lot of cold people around,” she said.
The bags are the latest project for the club. The roughly 100 juniors and seniors in the Kamiakin branch of the National Honor Society donate eight hours of their time serving the community each year, Feth said.
While the members need a 3.6 cumulative grade-point average to join, maintaining their academic excellence is only one part of being a member, she said.
“All of our students who are part of (the society) are blessed in many ways. They’re good leaders. They’re talented, whether it’s sports or music or drama,” she said. “So I go on the philosophy that when we’re given things and blessed with things, it’s important to give back.”